What Are Firmographics?
Firmographics are descriptive attributes possessed by firms that are used to group individual firms together in meaningful market segments. Firmographics are to businesses and organizations as demographics are to people.
Firmographics are leveraged by B2B organizations to define market segments. These market segments in turn help to guide sales and marketing by providing a deeper understanding of the target market, which ultimately leads to the increased effectiveness of both.
By grouping organizations with similar firmographics together, businesses can focus their sales and marketing communications on the organizations that are the most likely to connect with their messaging, and purchase the products or services being offered.
Firmographics inform marketing departments by uncovering insights into who is buying particular products, who is not buying those products, and by providing a clearer understanding of B2B clientele and the market in general.
But in order to properly leverage firmographics for market segmentation, it’s best to first confirm an accurate definition of the term “firm.”
Firms can range from governmental bodies and non-profit organizations to global corporations, legal practices, independent contractors, and small retail shops. Firms can can exist as standalone entities that take part in a single line of business, small divisions of a larger company, or entire corporations.
The Purpose of Firmographics
Defining firmographic attributes and segmenting a market accordingly allows businesses to…
Reveal business insight
Firmographics enable organizations to uncover business insights into B2B target markets by helping to answer commonly asked questions, such as:
- Where are the firms in this target market located geographically?
- How many employees do they employ?
- What’s the value of each business?
These are just a few of the many business insights that firmographics can expose.
Categorize firms by industry
Firmographics enable B2B businesses to categorize the firms in their target markets by industry type.
For example, tech companies will have different defining attributes than educational organizations or government entities. Accordingly, these firms should be marketed and sold to differently.
Optimize marketing strategies
By promoting properly targeted and customized messaging that aligns with the pain points of each market segment, a business can feel confident in their marketing strategy.
Sending the right message to the right people at the right time is the strategic trifecta that marketers shoot for, and using firmographic information helps to achieve that goal.
Avoid lost opportunities
Optimizing marketing strategies and taking an informed sales approach that’s backed by data reduces the risk of missing out on opportunities for business
Understand trends in data
Evaluating reporting and analytics from firmographically segmented markets allows professionals to recognize trends in the data.
These trends can then be accounted for during marketing and sales efforts, ultimately boosting the efficacy of these efforts.
Firmographic Variables Used in Market Segmentation
Firmographics describe and provide context for firms across many different dimensions or variables.
Below we’ve outlined the most common variables used during firmographic market segmentation.
Industry type is a natural means for segmenting markets. In other words, it makes sense to group companies that offer similar products and services together.
Grouping companies that are in the same industry together during firmographic segmentation allows businesses to cater their sales and marketing efforts to the needs and interests of each specific industry.
This is a much more successful approach than simply sending mass communications to companies across all industries, and hoping that something resonates.
Companies of different sizes will find resonance with different styles of communication and messaging.
For instance, the marketing communications that are most effective when directed to a mom and pop shop will not be as effective when directed towards a larger enterprise-level organization.
Segmenting a market by the size of the companies that comprise it allows for more efficiently tailored marketing and sales efforts.
Location is a useful variable to consider during firmographic market segmentation, as providing relevant, geographically specific information in marketing and sales communications can boost the effectiveness of the messaging.
Perhaps climate plays a role in a particular business’ interests. If so, this factor should be accounted for in the messaging that is directed to the business.
Segmenting a market by the geographical location of the firms that comprise it also allows organizations to measure which geographical regions they are having the most success in, and which regions should receive more dedicated effort.
Status or Structure
When segmenting a market, the status or structure of an organization refers to the relation of one organization to another, or to the legal status of an organization.
Individual firms can operate as:
- Individual businesses
- Standalone entities
- Subsidiaries of larger organizations
- Limited liability corporations (LLC)
- Publicly owned companies
- Privately held companies
All of these are examples of varying organizational statuses and structures, and knowing which types of organizations find the most value from your products and services can significantly boost the effectiveness of sales and marketing programs.
The variable of performance in firmographic segmentation refers to the characteristics of a firm in relation to its business execution over time.
In other words, grouping firms together that have been in existence for similar amounts of time, have the same rates of growth or decline, or have experienced similar profits and losses, can be a great way to ensure precise effectiveness in terms of tailored marketing and sales efforts.
The Benefits of Firmographic Market Segmentation
Performing firmographic market segmentation uncovers valuable insights that can then inform and improve marketing campaigns and sales efforts.
This improved effectiveness is a result of the following benefits provided by firmographic segmentation.
Boost Marketing ROI
Getting familiar with the intricacies of the companies that comprise your target market allows you to spend marketing budgets more efficiently, due to the fact that you are precisely tailoring communications to specific audiences instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach.
This means that you get more bang for your marketing buck, as you’ll be spending more efficiently.
Identify New Opportunities
Once you have performed firmographic segmentation, you’ll be able to identify gaps in your previous strategy. You’ll be able to identify the new, untouched prospects that fall in these gaps, and you can then target them in upcoming campaigns.
Speak to More Effective Selling Points
Getting granular about the attributes that make up the companies in your target market will expose the top selling points that should be addressed in your marketing and sales efforts. Once you’ve performed firmographic segmentation, you’ll be able to create scenarios in your communications that hold powerful resonance with your prospects.
All of these factors, when compiled together, will result in increased sales. Your business will have more effective marketing to support your sales staff, and your sales team will know the wants and needs of the companies in your target markets intimately, which allows them to ultimately close more deals.
Firmographic segmentation is a great way to get familiar with the complexities that make up your target market. By grouping prospective organizations together based on similar attributes, you’ll be able to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of your marketing and sales efforts across the board. This sort of informed approach to business will drive resonance between your communications and your target audiences, ultimately boosting ROI across the board.
Have you used firmographic market segmentation to learn more about your target audiences? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to drop us a line in the comments below!